Dementia Caregiving Burden - Family caregiving burden in developing countries - Kenyan perspective
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The current report by Alzheimer`s Disease International (ADI) indicates that there are 47 million people globally living with dementia; and that by 2025 this number will have tripled to reach 131 million. Due to decline in mortality rate, change of lifestyle and late life chronic noncommunicable diseases, it is projected that the developing countries will be hosting the large numbers of elderlies living with dementia. Dementia care giving is documented to be burdening not only to the families caring for their demented loved ones but also to the governments in developed countries where dementia caregiving is of health concern in national health budget. Unlike in the developed countries where dementia caregiving is factored in national budgets, in developing countries families are the primary caregivers where they carry the caregiving burden with no support from the government. With the increasing dementia rates in developing countries, many families will be affected by dementia either directly-as patients, or indirectly as the caregivers. It is for this reason that this qualitative research sought to explore the subjective experiences of the family caregivers in Kenya as one of the developing countries where family members are the primary dementia caregivers. Dementia caregiving experience is determined by many different factors that shapes the experience of individual caregiver or the family. This study aimed at exploring how dementia caregiving impacted caregivers and the resources that family caregivers felt that they needed to make caregiving a positive experience or to lessen the caregiving burden. Methods: This study utilized qualitative research methods to explore caregiving experiences of 8 family caregivers` participants who were the family members who offered hands-on care to their loved ones who were diagnosed with dementia: And 4 key informants. Open ended questions were used to guide the interviews were rich and detailed experiences of caregivers from when their loved ones showed the early symptoms of dementia to the time they god diagnosis and later as they got reduced to completely care dependent of the participants` help for their normal day to day living. Findings: This study found that caregiving is a responsibility that leads to a transition process that can be experienced as challenging if caregivers have no prior information about dementia disease and resources needed to facilitate the transition process. The findings further indicated that dementia caregiving can be burdening as it drains family resources in many aspects and that families can either become closer or fall out because of caregiving demands. Additionally, this study found out that caregivers needed more empowerment in terms of dementia care and management skills from professionals with gerontology and geriatric backgrounds; and that moral support from family members and friends is much needed to help the caregivers experience caregiving positively. The study further found that the Kenyan government and other stakeholders need to prioritize dementia diseases by coming up with policies that will push for dementia diseases to be considered as one of the diseases that should be budgeted for in national health services budget by integrating dementia health services in the public health services; and supporting demented elderlies together with their caregivers via the Kenyan social security cash transfer for the vulnerable elderlies.